OneNote converter

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This topic contains 35 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  johnp 4 months, 3 weeks ago.

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    I am very interested in moving away from OneNote in the longer term and have started to seriously consider potential replacements. CherryTree is frequently recommended and looks like it is one of the potentially most “seamless” options.

    I have started using CherryTree and it works very nicely – thank you to the developers and particularly Giuseppe!

    I know that there is interest from others in converting from OneNote to CherryTree, as expressed here (for example):

    I am planning to try to write a converter or library of some type to help out.

    I have a reasonable amount of experience with the OneNote API and OneNote XML and would simply like to start a dialogue with the CherryTree developers and users to help shape my efforts.

    I would appreciate any suggestions people have.

    I am putting this out here without having carried out much research yet into the workings of CherryTree itself or significant experience (yet) in playing with other options for moving content over (such as exporting to some other format from OneNote and then importing into CherryTree). If people have found such options acceptable already, I could easily write automation for such things on the OneNote side. OTOH, I’m personally thinking I might like to essentially create a library that CherryTree could leverage that might use OneNote format “Notebooks” directly… obviously there are pros and cons to any approach.

    So, please, I appreciate any and all feedback, pointers, etc.

    Thanks very much!


    Klaas Vaak

    Jeremy, that would be great if you could help. I started using CT a year ago for one my main note-taking activities, which I started from scratch with CT. I have not looked back. CT is very good.

    Nevertheless, I am still using OneNote for some of my notetaking because I started in 1N and cannot transfer that easily to CT, so for now I continue in 1N :-(( So I for one would certainly welcome a conversion tool.

    You may have read that over the past few months the Giuseppe has been busy with the growing family, and has been very busy porting CT coding over from GTK+ to Python, or vice versa – not sure if I describe it well. Anyway, I am sure he would welcome your help.

    In the link you provided above there is a comment by Dirtcooker who has tried out a couple of copy/paste processes: could you e.g. use his 2nd option to build on for a smooth, complete conversion of 1N to CT notes?



    Hi Klaas,

    Thanks for the response.

    Thanks also for commenting on Giuseppe’s busyness. I wasn’t aware of that. Only so many minutes in the day and haven’t really had a chance to delve into the archives here.

    Thanks also for pointing out Dirtcooker’s comment. I may give his methods a try – at least in part, they might inform efforts to provide a better solution if nothing else. Have you tried those methods? Do you encounter the same issues – thus making it difficult to leave OneNote entirely?

    When I get a chance (likely this weekend), I will spend some hours looking at CherryTree’s structure more generally and trying to come up with some ideas of my own as to how to best proceed. But, I still welcome any comments from more experienced users and especially anyone with software development/source code experience with CherryTree.



    Klaas Vaak

    Hey Jeremy, 1st off I am not a techie, so I have not experimented. I looked on internet and was surprised to find a number of sites that talk about the conversion, or something similar.

    My situation with 1N is that I have used tables, and even tables within tables, extensively. I really regret this because it probably will probably make it difficult to convert my notes. I have notes that I would like to transfer to CT, but don’t have the time to copy/paste them. And I have certain types notes that I would like to convert to Markdown because that way I will never have compatibility issues. Tip: if you are interested in Markdown, have a look at Typora – compared to any other Markdown programs out there Typora blows them out of the water, and actually makes writing fun & attractive !!

    Anyway, my 1N situation is of no interest to people.

    Getting back to 1N –> CT conversion, here is a webpage that describes a conversion process using both Word and Pandoc. I saved the webpage for future reference but have not experimented, it looks like quite an interesting process; automation would be needed. Have a look, and perhaps in combination with the other one or whatever you figure out, might present a way to get to a workable conversion process. See the comment immediately below the question.


    Klaas Vaak

    Jeremy, I sincerely apologise for my earlier reply – I was plain stupid … ahem, I got my knickers in a twist :-((

    The link I sent you is about converting 1N to Markdown, so not relevant to the subject here. It is not possible to delete that comment so it is there for all to see & laugh at my idiocy. Sorry.



    Ha, don’t worry!

    Sorry I didn’t respond sooner. Much like with everyone, life has a way of getting out from under you sometimes.

    I now have some flexibility and free time finally with the wrapping up of unanticipated pressure in other projects.

    I will begin research and implementation(s) – experimenting with methods of moving information with a goal of having something anyone could use by the end of this year.

    I’ll check in on the forums from time-to-time as I proceed to keep up with other topics and ask questions.

    Thanks and have a great day/week/month etc.!


    Klaas Vaak

    @jeremyp: no problem. I look forward to what you can put together. Talk to sometime between now 7 the end of the year.



    I’m joining this conversation so that I may see updates on this also. I’ve built up quite a complicated OneNote format in my writing projects, and I’d love to be able to simply transfer all of that to Cherrytree instead of rebuilding everything!

    @jeremyp please proceed! 🙂



    Until a concise converter is released, I’ve begun moving OneNote notes in this way:

    1) Import a OneNote notebook into the Evernote desktop app (it has more useful export settings than OneNote does).
    2) Export from Evernote as a multi-page HTML file to my desktop.
    3) Import from my desktop into Cherrytree.

    This is a relatively clean way of doing things, and even though all of my OneNote interlinks between notes/notebooks etc. are lost, I at least won’t have to do a complete reentry by hand. At least weblinks are more-or-less preserved intact.


    Klaas Vaak

    @kbtidwell: there is an easier way than going via Evernote.
    1. In OneNote:
    Save a page, section or notebook as an MHT file

    2. In Word:
    A. Open the MHT file
    B. Save the file as an HTML file

    3. In Cherrytree:
    Import the HTML file



    This will sound disrespectful when I mean no disrespect, but that is pretty much the same thing I do with Evernote. No more or less steps, really.

    But is there something to your process that perhaps preserves more originality, as in interlinking between OneNote pages and sections?

    Some of my many reference notes were interlinked wiki-style for rapid back and forth referencing during writing brainstorming.

    Thank you for that suggestion though. If you tell me it’s somehow better at preserving formatting I will try it, though I don’t use Office apps other than OneNote. I only have the web app access.

    • This reply was modified 8 months, 1 week ago by  KBTidwell. Reason: Autocorrect error

    Klaas Vaak

    @kbtidwell: no offence taken. What you overlook though, and that is why I mentioned this alternative, is that not everybody has an Evernote account, or is willing to open one. Many Evernote enthusiasts tend to think that everybody has or is willing to open an Evernote account, which is definitely not the case.

    As for links, they are preserved in the MHT document and can be clicked on to open them. I have briefly experimented with a single 1N page that I exported as MHT and that has links to other 1N pages. Those links in the MHT document remain in tact and can open the linked to 1N pages.

    I have not tried what would happen with links if you export a whole section or a notebook.



    Point taken about Evernote. I don’t have an account with them either, I just downloaded the desktop client and didn’t bother with the syncing part, where the account is required. For my purpose I didn’t have to set up an account.

    Interesting about the links in your experiment, and I can see that it would work if the target files are still in OneNote, but I’m not confident that the setup would survive a full transferral to Cherrytree.

    Fortunately my wiki-like associations are very few compared to the overall note bundle.

    Thank you for your help, and have a wonderful day!


    Klaas Vaak

    @kbtidwell: you are right, with a full transferral to CT links will be lost. I for one would really feel the loss of internote links because I use them a lot.



    One Note has an XML Schema Definition (XSD) File

    And now CT has also one (needs a bit love, but it works)

    So basically one need to write an XSL Tranformation Sheet and it is done.

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